2017 is the Year of Yen — Donnie Yen. Over Christmas, we saw the superb Chinese actor catch Hollywood's eye with his portrayal of Chirrut Imwe in Rogue One, and in January he took a more villainous turn in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Now, though, his fans are clamoring for Donnie to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Namor, the Sub-Mariner!
We May Not Have Long to Wait!
Evidence is building that #Marvel is working on bringing #Namor, the Prince of Atlantis, to the #MCU. Both Reel News Hawaii and Project Casting have referred to the Sub-Mariner, although we've yet to be told whether or not this is a movie or a TV series. That said, it seems much more likely to be a TV show; with Marvel Studios focused upon the next few years' worth of films, including the mammoth Avengers: Infinity War, I'd be very surprised if the studio was about to start work on another movie. In contrast, Marvel Entertainment seems willing to dive in - they're already working on seven projects this year, and my fellow Creator Franco Gucci has theorized that Sub-Mariner is the enigmatic John Ridley project.
Fan reaction to this news has been electric and — of course — has focused on fancasting. It didn't take long for Donnie Yen's fans to propose him for the role. The actor clearly didn't object, and began sharing fancasting tweets.
Soon, this began to catch the eye of various news outlets - and, in the kind of meta twist that's only possible on social media, those articles have become part of the story. Yen responded positively to ComicBook.com's article on the subject:
Yup, pretty cool.
But Is This Possible?
Of course, just because Donnie Yen is clearly interested in the role it doesn't mean he'll get it. He has competition — Brian Tee (best known for playing Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows) is also a popular fan-choice, and he's expressed an interest too. That said, I have to say that to me Yen would be a remarkable good choice: He's a tremendous actor and he'd lend a fascinating combat style to the character. As ScreenRant points out, in Rogue One Yen proved that his action scenes can incorporates staffs. As a result, Namor's trident wouldn't be a challenge for Yen.
Ironically though, the biggest barrier may be the fact that Yen is becoming too big a name. If I'm right in believing Sub-Mariner to be a TV series not a movie, then Yen may simply be out of Marvel Entertainment's price-range — and he may well have too many commitments to film an ongoing TV series.
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Ultimately, the truth is that only time will tell; it's pretty clear one division or another of Marvel is currently working on bringing the Prince of Atlantis into the MCU, and personally I think Donnie Yen would be an excellent choice. I'm sure Marvel has noted the popular fancasts with interest, and personally I'm hoping these might just kick off a discussion...
Do you want Donnie Yen to play Namor, the Sub-Mariner?
[Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics]